Good sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing and necessary for a positive attitude towards each new day.
However, getting enough sleep is not as simple as one might think. Yes, it is important for adults to get the recommended 7–9 hours a night, but there is more to a healthy sleeping pattern than just that.
Quality and quantity
Although sleeping feels like one continuous stage, simply going to bed and waking up a few hours later, those hours are actually broken up into 5 different stages.
Stages 1 and 2 are considered light sleep, where you begin to relax and drift into a steadier sleep, with slower breathing and a slower heart rate.
Stages 3 and 4 are considered the deep sleep stages, where you become the most relaxed and thus the most difficult to wake up.
Stage 5 is called REM sleep, another light sleeping stage, where dreaming occurs.
Maximise growth and repair
Of these five, stages 4 and 5 are considered the most important because these are the healing phases when growth and repair occur.
These stages are very beneficial for the body: they improve the immune system; help to process emotions and knowledge; consolidate memories; and balancing blood sugar levels.
This is why it is important to not only get enough sleep, but to also get enough deep, healing sleep. If you don’t reach or spend enough time in these phases, these important functions cannot occur.
It is possible to sleep the correct amount of time but not achieve enough deep sleep. This can result in fatigue, mood swings, trouble concentrating and poorer health.
The better sleep toolkit
Tossing and turning all night is an indicator of trouble reaching deep sleep, but luckily there are ways to improve sleep quality.
Reducing stress, exercising, eating well and meditating are all linked to an increase in deeper sleep and improved overall health.
Avoid sleeping pills, which have numerous negative side effects. Instead, taking natural supplements is a great way to improve your sleep, while benefiting your body at the same time.
A natural solution
This carefully balanced formula of vitamins and nutrients leads to a great night’s sleep and helps you to wake up feeling refreshed each morning.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.